Sunday Sum-Up: October 9, 2022

Just a quick update today. My friend L and I are heading out of town to an Autumn Festival at a little town on the river, about 90 miles away, so we’re leaving in a little bit. It should be a good time, as the weather is forecast to be just about perfect, and the town is beautiful on its own. I’ve been looking forward to this all week. Pictures to come!

Obligatory Mina Photo:

Mina is continuing her habit of sitting on uncomfortable things instead of on the soft things I have provided for her. In this case, she is balanced on the back of my reading chair and not sitting on her blanket on the chair’s actual seat. I suppose she likes it there because it’s higher up and she can see out.

If I were her, I’d be sitting on the blanket in the chair.

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy details the further adventures of the tea monk, Sibling Dex, and their robot friend Mosscap. The two are returning to the human settlements so Mosscap can investigate the question “what do humans need?”. That answer is, of course, hard to answer because there’s really no one specific thing that all humans need. The answer varies from person to person, so Mosscap is having a bit of a hard time figuring things out. Dex, too, is having a hard time because they’re burnt out of their profession and they don’t know what they want to do next and they feel guilty about not doing anything at all. Both of them have a lot of things to think about and a lot of healing to do, but fortunately, their society is one that will help them do it. This is a comforting little book, as it features kind people being kind to each other and receiving kindness from those they meet. It’s a wonderful antidote to a lot of the darker, grittier stories that are popular in society, and while I couldn’t read books like this all the time, a dose of sweetness now and then is a welcome treat.

Annihilation and The King in Yellow are two odd little books. Annihilation is about a team of scientists to enter Area X, a mysterious region in the southern United States where bizarre things happen to anyone who enters. The unnamed narrator feels herself changing and sees the other members of her team changing, but what these changes entail– and what causes them– are a complete mystery that may or may not be solved in the next two books. I’m not sure if I’m going to read those two or not.

The King in Yellow, or at least the first few stories in the collection, are not so much about The King in Yellow, who is a character in a play that exists in the world of the stories. The play is notorious for driving those who read it insane, and so its publication is restricted. It ends up in people’s hands anyway, and terrible things begin to happen when they can no longer resist the urge to read. I read this because of its influence on the horror podcast Malevolent, but it was just okay. It’s a collection of short stories, and I rarely have a great time with them.

What I’m Currently Reading:

Northanger Abbey is my second favorite of Jane Austen’s novels after Pride and Prejudice. It’s a charming love story about a young woman who has a lot of growing up to do, but still has a sense of what sort of men she has no interest in. It’s also a spoof of the gothic novel, which was extremely popular when Austen was working on this novel. Catherine Morland may not be the witty heroine that Lizzie Bennett is, or the gothic heroine she imagines herself to be when she arrives at Northanger Abbey, but I enjoy her point of view and her general sweetness. I’ll be finishing this up shortly.

I’m not very far into either Certain Dark Things or Thirteen Storeys. Both of these are horror novels of one kind or another. Certain Dark Things is about several characters in Mexico City, which is a refuge for humans in a country full of various kinds of vampires. Domingo is a street kid who runs into Atl, a mysterious and beautiful vampire on the run. Atl needs to escape Mexico City, but she doesn’t have many resources or the knowledge of how to survive in the city. She’s also being chased by members of a rival vampire family, and their knowledge and resources far outstrip hers.

Thirteen Storeys is about a group of people living in the same apartment building in London. They’re invited to a dinner party by the eccentric billionaire who lives in the penthouse apartment. Their only other connection is that they all experienced something strange inside the building. By the end of the night, their host is dead and none of the guests will say what happened. So far, I’m enjoying this. Its horror is a low-key kind so far, with a general feeling of uneasiness that underlies the characters’ stories, which reminds me of Sims’s work as the writer for the podcast The Magnus Archives.

I’m still working my way through The Lord of the Rings. It’s slow going, as I’m annotating the book for a friend, but It’s been a lot of fun finding all the little references to the Second Age (the era the series The Rings of Power takes place in). There are more of these than I thought, because Strider and others are not shy about telling stories about the goings-on of the people who once lived in the ruins they walk through or past. The hobbits have just reached Rivendell, and the Council of Elron is just about to begin. It’s going to take me a few days to get through that one chapter, and then we’re off on the quest.

9 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: October 9, 2022

  1. Hope you enjoyed the Autumn Festival! I’m happy to read your thoughts on Crown-Shy — I have a copy, and want to find a cozy time at home to enjoy it. I’m curious — what’s your favorite Austen? I really enjoyed Northanger Abbey, and I’m probably due for a reread. Have a great week!

  2. Most of the festival had actually happened on Saturday, but my friend and I had a great time anyway! There were a couple of art galleries, a used bookshop, antique shops and gift shops, and then we spent at least an hour at the winery. Plus, the drive was beautiful, with the trees turning colors.

    I hope you enjoy Prayer for the Crown-Shy! My favorite Austen is Pride and Prejudice. After that is Northanger Abbey, then probably Emma and Mansfield Park. You have a great week, too!

  3. Glad to hear you had a nice trip out of town, can’t wait to see the photos. I just returned from a trip to Massachusetts with my folks but don’t have much to show for it in the way of photos as it was mainly to get my mother up to a family reunion and around to see as many folks as she could. It was good to get away, and even better because she seemed to really enjoy it.

  4. The nice trip out of town on Sunday ended up being the high point of the week! I’m glad we went, because we had a lot of fun. Most of the booths had gone, as the bulk of the events happened on Saturday, but we still went to a couple of galleries and some other little shops, in addition to a great winery. The rest of the week? Not so great. I’ll get into it in my weekly review.

    Glad you had a lovely trip to Massachusetts!

  5. Annihilation is such a curious read! I read it as a buddy read with my sister once upon a time and we enjoyed dissecting and theorizing about it together. But the next two books are quite different. IMO you’re not missing out on much if you stop with Annihilation.

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